Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve got an hour before I head off to Revolution Hall and play competitive team trivia. I’m trying to download a software program for the Premier Basketball League and learn how to use it. My car still has a rocksalt glaze all over it from my blizzard trip over the weekend.
RING RING RING RING
House phone again. I pick it up.
“Could I speak to Mr. Miller, please?”
“This is he.”
“Mr. Miller, my name is Natasha and I’m with August Cove Resorts, we wanted to let you know that we have a $500 credit for your next vacation in Florida or Tahiti all ready for you…”
Oh no…. not again… not these clowns…
Apparently my prior tactic of playing Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” didn’t give them the hint that I wasn’t interested. Five months later, they’re back and wanting to suck out more of my money. Probably for some rickety motel that says D-CON on the side.
Then it dawned on me. I can get even with these clowns – they’re on a specific quota on how much time they can spend with a client. If they don’t think they’ve got a shot with a potential target, they’ll hang up and dial someone else on their call sheets. I refuse to be a hook on their fishing line.
“It shows that you and your wife Wicki went to a trip to Colonial Williamsburg in 2008…”
Again with the typo that makes them think my wife was named after the sound of scratching a record on a turntable. August Cove has one more strike left.
“And we can give you this credit for Las Vegas, for Miami, for anywhere in our sun and fun network. So would you be interested in setting up a vacation package with us?”
It is now at this point in time that I decided to channel every elementary school, Sunday school, high school and college play in which I ever acted. Even to the point where I screwed up a nativity play when, in the role of Joseph, I walked with Kathleen Dugan (who had a couple of pillows under her dress to truly play the role of the Virgin Mary) up to the kid who played the innkeeper and asked for a room. “But we have no room.” “My wife is with child.” “That’s not my fault,” the innkeeper said. I ad-libbed and said, “Well, it ain’t my fault either!” Yeah, that went over real well at Sunday school…
But back to today. Natasha from August Cove Resorts was going to get a wee little taste of what happens when her company calls someone one time too many.
“Well, Natasha,” I deadpanned, allowing my voice to slightly drop. “The fact that you mentioned that ‘Wicki’ and I went to Colonial Williamsburg in 2008… that’s really something. I know, because ‘Wicki’ went to Colonial Williamsburg all right – but the guy she took wasn’t her husband.”
“So, Mr. Miller, would you like to book a – what did you say?”
I smiled. Santiago just hooked a marlin.
“That’s right,” I continued, spinning a lurid tale of a romance gone wrong, not even letting Natasha know that “Vicki” and I have been happily married for 15 years. “When I got married, Natasha, I thought it was for forever. Little did I know that my wife Wicki would consider ‘forever’ about a month or two. I thought we would have a long life together. I should have seen the signs, Natasha… I should have known when I saw that Marlboro cigarette in the ashtray one night – and it’s not my brand – and I know she doesn’t smoke.”
“Oh my. I had no idea.”
“Yeah, and all the times she told me she was visiting her brother in Utica, and needed to be there over the weekend – and my E-Z Pass bill came back with trips to Pennsylvania and to Massachusetts and Delaware, and she told me it was a faulty E-Z Pass and I believed her, Natasha. I believed her, why would a woman like to me like that?”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Miller. I’ve had guys cheat on me, too.”
Reel it in, reel it in… time to play with this sportfish for a while. To hell with luck. I’ll bring the luck with me.
“Yeah, and I found out about her going to Colonial Williamsburg. I saw that picture of her and Eddie. Eddie, my best friend since we were kids. Eddie, who always told me, ‘Don’t worry, Chuck, I’ve always got your back.’ That SOB told me he had my back, but what he really meant was he had my wife behind my back! And then I think it’s all over, all the pain, all the trauma, all the horrible moments and memories, and then you guys call me back after I begged and pleaded with you to never contact me again, because it just brought back every single painful horrible agonizing moment, Natasha. Don’t you understand the pain you’re putting me through?”
“Mr. Miller, I had absolutely no idea.”
I wonder if Natasha watches any midnight movies… let’s find out.
“My God! I can’t stand any more of this!” I overacted, my voice aquiver in fake emotions. “First she spurned me for Eddie, and then she threw him off like an old overcoat for Rocky! She chewed people up and then she spit them out again… I loved her… do you hear me, Natasha? I said I LOVED HER!! And what did it get me? Yeah, I’ll tell you: a big nothing. She’s like a sponge. Just take, take, take, and drain others of their love and emotion. Yeah, well, I’ve had enough! I told her to choose between me and Rocky, so named ’cause of the rocks in his head!”
“That’s so tragic. Mr. Miller, I really wish I could do something about this for you.”
Natasha the telemarketer, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends. Hee.
“You don’t understand. I asked you and all your other affiliated companies to please never call me again. Please don’t make me re-live the pain. And you promised… YOU PROMISED you wouldn’t call. And today you did.”
“You must be in our computer system more than once, sir. It’s got to be a mistake.”
“No, I bet it means Wicki’s gone to more timeshares and vacation spots without me. With Eddie, with Rocky, I bet she went with Brad and Janet, too.”
“Were they friends of yours?”
“They were friends of mine. WERE,” I enunciated with a fake sneer. Good thing I didn’t bring up the relationship with Riff Raff, Columbia, Magenta and Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
“Mr. Miller, I am so sorry, and I’m writing down all this information and I will take it to my manager as soon as we’re off the phone. I promise you’ll never receive a call from us ever again.”
I sniffed. “You said that before,” I replied, my voice letting off a soft crackle.
“No, no, sir, I can’t believe how much pain you’ve endured. And I want to make sure it never happens again. You’ll never hear from us again.”
“Thank you,” I murmured. “I really hope that’s the case. I never want to hear Wicki’s name ever again, if I can help it. Don’t ever let me hear the name ‘Wicki.'”
“I’ll take care of it right away. You have a good day, Mr. Miller,” Natasha replied, “and please accept my sincere apologies. I hope you make it through this tough time. I will pray for you. I wish you the best.”
“Thanks,” I replied. “You have a nice day too.”
I hung up and smiled. Chuck Miller 2, August Cove Resorts 0.
Anyone can be a fisherman in May. And anyone can give a telemarketer what they deserve in January.